New Year and a new sail

New sail for the gunning dory this year.

I got my Sailrite sail kit all stitched up. I ordered the Shellback dinghy kit. It is just the right size to replace the lateen I used this past season.

The sail construction went very well. My new to me Necchi BU Mira sewing machine handled the job admirably, and for $44 who could complain? Quite a nice heavily built machine from the ’50s when they made stuff good to last.

It is quite cold outside here now so it may, or may not, depending on the weather, be some time until I can get the thing rigged up on the boat.

It will surely be some time  before I am able to go sailing to try it out.

At least this sail kit was not too hard to make. I will most probably be doing another some time in the future.

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New Lug Sail

The need to be able to reef, and otherwise have an easy to handle sail became apparent this past summer sailing Lark. Being out on Lake Erie, by myself most of the time, and not having a handy sail, kind of forced me into doing something…better…safer.  The balanced lug seems to get the most good marks in the reefable, easy to handle sail category – so that is the type of sail I have decided to go with. Sailrite came through with the Shellback dinghy sail kit, which is just the same size as my current lateen sail. 55 sq. ft. And the price was right too – $190 for the complete sail kit and the grommet setting tools needed for the job. Since then I have purchased a used zig zag sewing machine that seems pretty well able to stitch up the new sail.

No big rush as the snow has just started to fly around here, so sailing time will be a ways off yet. It will be a fun project to work on over the winter.

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She’s just swell…

Took Lark out on Lake Erie this morning. No sailing this time – rowing and fishing. The weather was calm and there was a 3 – 4 foot swell on the lake. It turns out that was nothing to worry about. The boat handled it great. I stayed in close — maybe a 1/4 mile out for this first time out in these conditions. It didn’t take long for the confidence to build up and it was just an enjoyable ride being out there for a while. All too soon I had to head back in – with only one perch, about enough for a small fish sandwich but better than nothing.

Did I say I love this boat?

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Camping with Lark

We just returned from our first great camping trip with the boat.   This boat was built for this purpose, although I have been having more fun than that with her since the launch a few weeks ago. I did not feel that the racks on the camper were stout enough, so I just ran two 2X4’s  across the top and that was more than sturdy.  Strapped down she rode just fine on the trip to the campgrounds and back. The sail rig and rudder strapped on top of the camper too, with the boat. The beach cart did double duty as a camp cart to get Lark to the water, as we could not get a waterfront site this time. I found a spot to leave her in the water tied to a tree so it was alright.

We sailed – two up at times.  I rowed just for fun (and got better at it!). I fished – drift fishing and trolling under oar. I even caught a few nice fish.

Overall a great outcome for the original intent of this boat for a pop-up camper boat. I couldn’t be happier. 🙂

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Lovin’ the cart

Just back from another successful dolly launch at the beach. So nice not to drive 45 minutes each way. I can drive to Headlands beach in less than 5 minutes. As I get a routine in place it will go a little quicker getting to the water, and back to the car. It’s still not too long as is anyhow. I’m in love with this beach cart.
Nice wind today. Something like 12 MPH. Carried full sail in a 1-2 foot chop. Fun ride. Boat felt stable and solid the whole time. Nothing scary. Came in before the storms threatened.
Now I gotta add some fishing to the mix. Stock the freezer some.

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Barbie beach cart

I made a beach cart for the dory today. Got it done before it got too late – and had time to run over to the beach to try it out. I’m very happy to report that it worked great, and I finally have a way to launch a boat (besides my kayaks) at my local beach. This will most probably change my way of boating from now on. See, we live very close to Lake Erie, but all the launch ramps around here charge $10 a day to launch. So I have been mostly driving 40 minutes to an inland lake instead. Now I can get on the water much quicker, spend less on gas money, etc.

I had trouble swallowing the cost of the Wheeleez boat cart, although it looks great, and is better in ways, I’m sure, than my homemade cart. But this one costs me nothing but some time today, and some scraps of materials I had lying around. The power wheels Jeep came out of the trash and the wheels are kind of the right thing. They are wide — like 7 inches or so and about 14 inches tall.

To load the boat I just push the cart up behind the trailer, slide the boat back onto the cart and strap it to the cart, grab the bow breasthook, and I’m off to the water. The cart fit nicely tied in upside down on the front thwart while I was out rowing today. It is easy enough to lift the boat up by the stern and set it on the cart to strap it back down when it’s time to head back to the car. Soooooo happy with this setup. 🙂

The dory really handled the small 1 foot waves and the jetski and powerboat chop today admirably. She rides the waves like a duck, and at no time did I feel the slightest bit uneasy rowing around out there today. Powerboat waves in the 2 to 3 foot range, I’d guess.  I wanted to keep it simple today so I left the sail rig in the van, Just rowed around for an hour or so a did some fishing too. No fish to report today. I stayed in close – maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile out. Great day.

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On the water pics

Showing off some on the water pics.

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She sails!

Got Lark out for the first sail today. She did great. She is very well behaved.

My one worry was that my rudder area would be too small. This was not a problem. Super light helm, turns effortlessly, and responds well.

My hose friction setup worked perfect to keep the centerboard down.

I read up on a Sunfish rigging manual to get an idea or two about this lateen sail  – it helped.

The winds were reasonably light today – 6 MPH according to NOAA. She still moves along pretty well at that wind speed. The sail seems like a good size for the hull. I have a couple tweaks to do to the sail, but other than that – I’m happy.

Venti has some competition now – I really enjoy this new sail & oar boat!

Double enders are cool.

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So Close…

Just about there… 🙂

I spent the last week getting a trailer fixed up for the gunning dory.

I modified a Harbor Freight trailer. Added 10 foot to the tongue, and a carpeted wood bed and bunks. She sits on there real solid. I’m just working on a winch post/stop for the front end. I may not even need to put a winch on it – we’ll see – I think i can just pull her up to the post by hand like I do with Venti – never need to use the winch. I had a 20% off coupon so the trailer itself costs $170 with tax. An additional $80 or thereabouts in modification materials. It was a lot of extra work to modify this trailer, but I did save a lot over buying a new boat trailer. – And this dory with it’s flat bottom needs a flat bed to sit on, so I would have ended up modifying a new boat trailer anyways – so I’m happy with this choice.

So enough babbling about that.

If the weather is decent tomorrow I plan to give myself a Father’s Day present and launch this thing…  And speaking of fathers — my dad was a Studebaker guy — and his dad was a Studebaker guy — So For those reasons and a few others I have decided that my new dory’s name will be Lark.

So weather permitting – tomorrow I will be off on a Lark  😉

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Ready to row

I’ve got everything ready for the first row. Still some details to work out before she can sail, but I’m ready to row! Final assembly was finished over the past week, and today I got the oars leathered. They came out way better than the last pair I did — using inferior materials. Just a couple pics – the coloring sucks inside. I’ll get some better pics when I get her outside.

Now I’ve just got to figure out how I’m gonna get her to the water. She’s too much to lift by myself, and I don’t have the camper set up to carry her yet. I may just get a cheap lightweight trailer and not have to worry about scratching her up loading and unloading. And just put her on the camper when we actually go camping.

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